On 17 January, the Italian parliament voted to increase its military presence in Libya to combat illegal immigration and counter terrorism threats. This announcement has increased political tensions between Misrata and the House of Representatives (HoR) based in Tubruq. The HoR are calling for Italy to remove its forces, which are currently positioned in Misrata to manage the military hospital established in September 2016 during the anti-ISIS operations in Sirte.
On 19 January, the GNA’s Foreign Ministry requested the Italian government to clarify its recent decision to increase its troops in Libya. Italy’s embassy in Tripoli has insisted that there is inaccurate information circulating around the media and it said nothing had changed. On 22 January, the HoR held a special session to discuss the controversial Italian vote, condemning it as a “violation of Libya’s sovereignty.” Several prominent Libyan activists and diplomats have also deplored the move.